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Below average rainfall

February 17, 2017
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Gardeners, think drought. We are experiencing very low amounts of the usual rainfall expected for the past several months. Last year we had an overabundance of rain during the first months of the year. This year not.

Whatever you did not water last year, this year is different.

We may quickly receive some rains in the next couple of months, and that will help stave off a drought. Gardeners right now need to be vigilant and not just sit back and wait. Yes, this is our usually dry season, but the rain experts are not real sure how much actual rainfall will come in the next few weeks. We had a nice, warm, cloudy day on Tuesday; possible rain, but no rain. Nice, dry, cloudy days do not help gardens grow.

A nice change for soil planting could be a pot of healthy fat basil. This herb does well potted in the sun and the fragrance when you pull off a leaf or two makes you kind of feel like a great cook. I even pull off a couple leaves and just lay them on the kitchen counter.

There are many different flavors available with this herb. Leaf coloring is also variable. It contains compounds that are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It has several great vitamins.

When adding to sauces, etc., just make sure to add it to the pot last to preserve its fresh flavor, and not be bitter.

Oregano is another of my favorite herbs. I like the so-called Cuban oregano because it is variegated and seems more special to me. This is also antimicrobial.

Fresh is the best, but even dried will liven up pasta sauce or other dishes. This herb is also a counter herb. You can also make a small herb arrangement with a little water and some fresh basil and oregano stems and enjoy them on the counter while cooking or for a short period in the refrigerator for another day.

I see along some of the city medians that society garlic is blooming well. This plant, Tulbaghia violacea, from Africa, is easy to grow and blooms a long time. It does like a lot of sun but still does well under some taller trees. It looks best as a nice patch of green leaves with tall stems showing a light purple puff of flower. The leaves can be cut and used in sauces - no sprayed leaves, of course.

There is a light garlic scent from the flowers.

Watch the papers for notices from some local galas and flower shows this weekend.

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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